Arizona jumped four spots to become the 10th friendliest state for bicyclists according to the League of American Bicyclists’ newest rankings, released earlier this week.
The ranking returns Arizona to the top 10 after falling to number 16 in 2011. The last time Arizona cracked the top to was in 2009, which was before many states and cities started to get serious about their bicycle programs.
League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke said there were several reasons for Arizona’s move up including the economic impact study the state is conducting on bicycling.
Additionally the passing of Joey’s Law, which stiffens the penalties for motorists who feel the scene of a crash, scored additional points in the state comparisons.
Clarke said the LAB also appreciated that the state was beginning to count people using automatic counters.
“In the middle 25-to-40 states doing a few things like that is enough bump up a few spots in the rankings,” he said. “It’s good and we are obviously delighted those things are happening, but it will take much more to get higher up in the top 10.”
The LAB’s reccomendations for improving our rankings include:
• Adopt a vulnerable road user law that increases penalties for amotorist that injures or kills a bicyclist or pedestrian.
• Develop a Police Officer Standards andTraining (POST) curriculum for bicycling enforcement both for new officers and continuing education – focus on laws related to bicyclists, interactions between motorists and bicyclists, and bicycle collision investigation.
• Integrate bicycle enforcement training into the police academy curriculum for new officers.
• Adopt a statewide, all-ages cell phone and texting ban to combat distracted driving and increase safety for everyone.
• Collect data regarding enforcement actions against motorists based on incidents with bicycles, such as traffic tickets issued, prosecutions, or convictions.
• Create a system of state bike routes that are safe (e.g.wide shoulders, bike lanes, etc.), connect to destinations, and are suitable for all types of bicyclists.
• Dedicate state funding for bicycle projects and programs, especially those focused on safety and eliminating gaps and increasing access for bicycle networks.
• Hold a state bicycle summit with opportunities for professional development, contact with elected officials, and networking.
• Add bicycle safety as an emphasis area in the state Strategic Highway Safety Plan and aggressively fund bike safety projects.
• Ensure that bicycle safety is a major emphasis in all transportation projects, programs and policies to address this issue.
Check out Arizona’s “report card” here.